Well, it’s been a wild couple of weeks, I can tell you that much. Everyday there still seems to be something new we’re learning about this virus, cities are opening early, only to be shut down again, protests, people getting sick when attending said protests…. Overall, a little bit of madness.
There have been a couple of people online asking the same question: if your gym opened up tomorrow, would you go and train? This quickly becomes a polarizing issue that ranges from “yes, absolutely!” to “no, are you crazy?” Frankly that’s not an easy question to answer, because different areas are, well, different. For instance I live in a pretty densely populated city where hundreds of cases are still being reported daily. It’s an area where a decent percentage of the population also uses public transportation: basically a bunch of people cramped into smaller spaces, which is no bueno.
In order to ascertain if a gym should open or not, there are a couple of factors that have to be considered: for instance how many cases have been reported in the area, how people get to the gym, what sanitation and distancing protocols are being put into place to ensure that all participants are kept as safe as possible. Some could also argue that these gyms opening sets a bad example and could influence other gyms in more risky areas to also open, and that’s certainly fair. This isn’t an easy problem to answer and we’re all doing our best to navigate this whole thing.
That being said, there are also gyms in higher risk areas that either have, or are planning to open that really shouldn’t: while I certainly don’t agree with the decision, I can understand it. Gyms, especially in niche disciplines like jiu jitsu, don’t have fat profit margins. Between operating costs like rent, utilities, cleaning supplies, salary for employees- that stuff adds up, leaving very few with an option to continue to be shut down for an extended period of time. There are a number of schools that are shutting down for good unfortunately: I’m not privy to each of their financial situations, but I’m sure the current bills they are facing, coupled with the reduction of their already razor thin profit margin most likely has a part to play.
“But what about the small business loans?” you may be asking. Anecdotally, I can tell you I have yet to hear of a gym receiving one of those loans. So again, while I don’t agree with it, I can certainly see how some academy owners feel their hand is forced in opening their gym.
In terms of our gym, we are still closed. Our entire county is still in lockdown, with only essential businesses allowed to operate- meaning grocery stores, pharmacies, the like. The state has a three phase plan, marked by colors- red, yellow and green. We are still in the “red” phase, meaning we are still under the most restrictions and not allowed to open period. There is some talk of possibly moving to yellow in early June, so we’ll see.
That’s it for now- have a good day everyone!